Elevator Speech Gives Museums a Lift

By: Kathy Kelsey Foley, director on February 18th, 2015

I’m practicing my elevator speech almost daily because I expect to give it a real workout next week. Are you wondering why?

An elevator speech is a catchall metaphor for a to-the-point message that can be delivered succinctly or in the time it takes for an elevator to move between floors.


My elevator speech focuses on the importance of museums and the many ways all museums – from A/art to Z/zoos – impact our lives and our communities.

Sharing my passion for museums takes place daily at the Woodson Art Museum, but my elevator speech ramp up is because next week is the American Alliance of Museums’ annual Museums Advocacy Day program in Washington, D.C., followed by marathon Hill visits. A succinct and powerful elevator speech is what gets the attention of legislators as well as congressional staff members with whom we’ll meet on Tuesday, February 24.

In making these visits, I’ll be joined by Dr. Robert Davis – Bert – President and CEO of the Zoological Society of Milwaukee. We’ll have a breakneck schedule that will take us from the Hart Senate Building to Longworth, Cannon, and Rayburn, during which we’ll visit the offices of the ten-member congressional delegation representing Wisconsin.

Bert and I can pack a powerful punch with our stories. As the embodiment of A/art to Z/zoos, we have witnessed firsthand the difference an art museum and zoo visit can make in the lives of Wisconsinites. When you observe the delight of discovery revealed through a child’s expression or receive feedback from parents and teachers who value the hands-on learning that takes place in a museum, it’s not difficult to convey enthusiasm or make the case that museums matter.

You don’t have to go to Washington, D.C. to advocate for museums or to share your personal stories. You can champion museums from your home or office by following this link. Weigh in with your own elevator speech in person, in letters, or online next week and often. Our nation’s museums thank you.

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